I have to say, I make a lot of biscotti. Seriously, I could do it in my sleep at this point. They are pretty easy to whip up, they keep well for a long time, and are nice to have on hand for dipping in coffee in the morning, or in wine for dessert. A couple of years ago, this particular flavor won a blue ribbon at the Oregon State Fair. They are flavored with lots of almond extract (a shocking 4 tablespoons!), dried cranberries, toasted almonds, vanilla, and freshly grated orange zest. Dipping them in white chocolate not only makes them more beautiful, but also adds a nice sweet, vanilla creaminess which is a nice compliment to the other flavors. For me, biscotti is more of a method than a recipe. I don’t really measure the ingredients, but I have made so many of them over the years that I have a good feeling of what the dough should look and feel like.
I combine a heaping cup of sugar, 4 eggs, a big splash of vanilla, the almond extract (4 tablespoons….which I realize sounds like a shocking amount, but it really fades with baking in this recipe…. trust me), and the zest of one large orange. I then beat the egg mixture for about five minutes until it is pale yellow and forms a ribbon. Meanwhile, I combine the dry ingredients: 3 cups of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, and a large pinch of salt. Once the egg mixture is at the ribbon stage, slowly add the dry ingredients along with just enough extra flour to form a dough that is tacky, but no longer sticky (which on any given day might be another cup or so), then mix in a heaping cup of whole almonds, and a heaping cup of dried cranberries (which I combine in a bowl before hand and toss with a tablespoon of flour). I form two long, flat logs on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, and bake at 350º for about thirty minutes, until they are firm to the touch. Next, after they have cooled completely on a wire rack, I slice the logs on the bias using a sharp serrated knife (I like mine pretty substantial, but you can cut them any size you want). I then lay the slices cut side down on the baking sheet, and return to the oven for about ten minutes at 325º, at which point I flip them, and bake them for about ten minutes more. (They should be dried, but not necessarily browned.) Once cooled, dip one side in melted white chocolate and let in dry on parchment paper. Stored in an airtight container these cookies will last for months. And wrapped up in a cellophane bag tied with raffia or a pretty ribbon, I can’t imagine a more perfect hostess gift or holiday treat, that anyone is bound to appreciate. Enjoy!